Blue Anchor’s Home Farm Caravan Park, nestled in the serene village of Blue Anchor and a stone’s throw away from a picturesque sandy and pebble beach, has unveiled plans for a significant expansion.
The park, which last year secured planning permission for touring caravans, camping, and car boot sale activities, has now submitted an application to Somerset Council to transform one of its fields to accommodate 60 static caravans, available for all-year-round use.
The proposed expansion is not merely a bid to augment the park’s capacity but is envisioned as a catalyst to enhance the district’s tourism offer.
With visitors being able to reside in the static caravans for up to four months at a time, the move is anticipated to stimulate economic growth and job creation, both within and beyond the site, thereby bolstering the local economy, as reported by the West Somerset Free Press.
Michael Shepherd, a planning consultant from Shattock Associates, elucidated that the touring caravans and tents would be relocated to another field within the site.
The expansion, he emphasized, is pivotal to augmenting the holiday park’s viability, especially considering the increasing preference among visitors to explore Somerset outside of the primary summer months, thereby elevating year-round occupancy levels.
Shepherd further highlighted the substantial investment involved in the project, aimed at refining the tourism offer available to the district.
“Home Farm is an under-developed tourism facility in the area that requires future investment to reach its full potential,” he said, underscoring the opportunities arising for the local economy, contractors, and the creation of additional secure full-time employment opportunities in the tourism industry.
The economic ripple effects of the expansion are not confined to the caravan park alone. Nearby businesses, including the Smugglers Inn public house and Driftwood Cafe, are projected to witness a surge in trade.
Shepherd articulated that the development would not only spur economic growth in the area and create jobs but also enhance the tourism industry, with Home Farm being “at the center of the tourism industry in the West Somerset district.”
Furthermore, the expansion is expected to complement local tourism services and facilities, particularly those in Minehead and Watchet, by accommodating the existing demand for accommodation rather than generating new, unsustainable transport patterns.
Shepherd highlighted that tourism generates £1.28 billion for the Somerset economy, but satisfaction levels for visitors to the county linger at 43%, compared to 66% for the wider Westcountry.
The proposal, which is currently under consideration by Somerset Council, invites public comments until October 24. The council’s decision will undoubtedly be pivotal in shaping the future trajectory of tourism and economic development in the area.
The application details and the mechanism for public comments might be accessible through the council’s new website, ensuring transparency and public participation in the decision-making process.
The caravan park, which operates from March 31 to October 28, offers a range of facilities, including electric hook-ups, excellent toilets and showers, dishwashing and fridge/freezer facilities, and a waste disposal point. The site is level, pets are welcome, and there is a swimming pool on an adjoining site, albeit not available during school holidays.
Home Farm also hosts car boot sales every Saturday & Bank Holiday Monday from April 1 to October 28, and every Wednesday from June 7 to September 27.
This activity not only provides an additional attraction for visitors and locals alike but also fosters community engagement and provides a platform for local businesses and individuals to showcase their offerings.
While the expansion promises numerous benefits, it is also imperative to consider potential challenges or controversies that might arise.
These could encompass environmental concerns, traffic increments, or local apprehensions, which would need to be addressed judiciously to ensure the sustainable development of the caravan park and the surrounding area.
The proximity of Home Farm to major West Somerset tourist towns, the coastline, and natural attractions like Exmoor and the Quantock Hills, coupled with its accessibility by bus and train, further accentuates its potential as a pivotal player in enhancing local tourism and the economy.
Up to four new full-time jobs are anticipated to be created, with the extra traffic movements resulting from the development estimated to be only about 15 per hour.